Taliban denies meeting with U.N. envoy

KABUL, Afghanistan, Jan. 31 (UPI) – A statement reportedly written by Taliban leaders denies a meeting with a U.N. envoy and vows to keep fighting in Afghanistan until NATO-led forces leave.

The denial was in response to reports that Kai Eide, head of the U.N. mission in Afghanistan, met with Taliban leaders in Dubai this month to explore negotiations with the Afghan government.

The Washington Post Sunday quoted an e-mail from the Taliban leadership council as saying reports of such a meeting were mere futile and baseless rumors.

The e-mail went on to say: The Leadership Council once again emphasizes continuation of Islamic Jihad against all invaders as a means to frustrate these conspiracies.

Earlier, however, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton confirmed the meeting took place between Eide and Taliban leaders including Mulla Abdul Salam Zaeef, the former Taliban ambassador to Pakistan.
He wanted to test for himself the mindset of some of the Taliban leaders, Clinton said.